Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: A Lady’s Guide, #1
Release Date: November 10. 2021
As the owner of the Gazette, widow Lady Katherine Bascomb is sick of men deciding what knowledge is appropriate for women to know. When yet another man tells her she is too delicate to hear about the murders being done by someone the papers are calling the “Commandments Killer” Kate decides to use her position and her paper to educate the women of London. She recruits Caroline Hardcastle and they set out to get some questions about the murders answered. They interview a witness that the police never spoke to and get a lead to the killer – it is a huge break in the case that shakes up Scotland Yard.
Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham has been working on the Commandments case for months and is angry that the reporter from the Gazette released information about the killer without telling the police and that the man he assigned to interview witnesses, missed the chophouse serving girl. His superiors pull him off the case and his replacement – the man who was supposed to interview witnesses – makes an arrest of a man named John Clark. Andrew doesn’t believe they have the right man, but has no recourse. When he meets Katherine at a press conference and helps her navigate the crowd, he takes the opportunity to chastise her for her recklessness and says the wrong man is going to hang because of her. They part ways and neither expects to see the other again.
But fate and the killer are not done with these two, appalled that she may be responsible for sending an innocent man to jail, she attends a house party of her dear friend Lord Valentine Thorn, hoping to have him appeal to his father the Duke of Thornfield to intercede and have John Clark released. But while at the party the killer strikes again and Andrew is sent to investigate. He and Kate come to an agreement, they will work together to find the killer and clear John Clark. But nothing can prepare them for the twists and turns in the or for the attraction between them they can’t ignore. Will they be able to solve the murders and have their own HEA or will the Commandments Killer claim another victim.
I thought this was a well written, intriguing story with a really well-done mystery – but as a romance, it was a little lacking. Andrew and Kate don’t really begin to interact until well into the book and even then, the romance seems to take a backseat to the mystery. If this was billed as an historical mystery, I would give it 4.5 – the proof I received was marked as an UNCORRECTED copy, so I will assume that the typos, title errors and inconsistencies – including the mention of Oscar Wilde in a book set in 1865 – will be addressed prior to publication. As a romance it is more of a 3.5 star book, so I decided to split the difference. It is an excellent mystery with some romance, some steamyish love scenes, more than one twist, a couple of eye-popping revelations, great secondary characters, witty banter, a strong heroine and a great hero. I enjoyed the book and will happily recommend this title.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an uncorrected eARC that I requested and was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.*